Whether they’re putting in countless hours of practice to reach the top of their field or competing for gold medals in front of the world, Winter Olympic athletes often spend extensive time outdoors in cold, wintry conditions. Olympic athletes rely on their vision to remain at the top of their game, so proper eye care is a must while preparing for and participating in the Games. Taking the necessary steps to prepare for winter eye safety isn’t hard to do, and you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to put your focus on vision health while you enjoy your favorite winter activities.
Winter Eye Care: Tips for Maintaining Vision Health During Winter Activities
- Winter Eyewear for Outdoor Activities – Since the sun’s heat may not feel as intense during the winter months, it can be easy to forget proper eyewear when participating in outdoor activities. However, winter sunlight can still cause problems for vision health, especially if your eyes are not protected. Always make sure to have a good pair of sunglasses – or goggles if you’re hitting the slopes – to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays during the winter.
- 100 Percent UV Protection – When choosing winter eyewear, it’s wise to avoid settling for anything but the best. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are reflected by the ice and snow, which adds an extra UV risk to winter activities. Look for sunglasses or goggles that offer 100 percent UV protection, and keep harmful UV rays from reaching your eyes.
- Dry Eyes – Dry eyes is a condition that is very common in Colorado due to our dry climate and intense ultraviolet light exposure. As we grow older, our eyes simply produce fewer lubricating tears. Both men and women may be effected by dry eyes, although women are more prone after menopause and during pregnancy. Contact lenses can contribute to dry eyes because they cause an increase in tear evaporation. Common medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, diuretics, and anti-depressants can also cause dry eye. Underlying systemic conditions may contribute to dry eyes as well. Studies have shown that with computer use we blink 40% less, resulting in increased evaporation of the tears.
- Contact Lens Care – Cold, dry winter air can also lead to discomfort if you wear contact lenses, and your eye care specialist may be able to suggest moisturizing drops to keep your eyes comfortable while wearing contacts. Wearing glasses more often may also be an option if the winter air causes trouble with contacts.
- Winter Eye Exam – An annual eye exam is one of the best ways to catch potential vision problems, and get answers to your winter eye care questions from a trusted source. If you haven’t scheduled your annual eye exam yet for this year, then winter can be a great time to make it happen!
Winter eye safety is crucial when spending time in cold weather, and when you’re inside warming up after a day of winter fun. It’s important to remember that the sun’s UV rays are still strong during the winter, and finding the right eye protection is just as important in the winter as it is during the warm, sunny summer months.
If you have any questions about your winter eye care needs, your eye doctor can be a great source of advice. Whether you’re an aspiring Olympic athlete or simply looking forward to enjoying the show, the winter months are a great time to focus on eye care and vision health.